Singer, Todrick Hall first gained notoriety as a contestant on the ninth season of “American Idol” (AI) in 2010. Hall made it to the semi-finals on the competition. Unlike so many of the contestants, that was only the start of what the future would bring for the multitalented artist. Hall has proven that he can multi-task like no other. This demanding tour has Hall displaying his talents as an actor, singer, choreographer, songwriter, producer, director, dancer, drag queen and ‘YouTuber.’ AXS was able to catch Hall’s incredible show at the Rialto Theatre on May 16. Here are the highlights.
1) Todrick Hall’s popularity has exploded with a staggering list of accomplishments
Hall became a viral YouTube personality with close to three million subscribers and close to a billion views on his channel. He continued to become a judge on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” after AI. Add his Broadway appearances that include“The Color Purple,” “Memphis,” “Kinky Boots” and “Chicago” to his long list of credits. Both “Kinky Boots” and “Chicago” broke attendance records during his tenure on the shows. He has starred in his own self-titled MTV show. This is not bad for an African American man from a small town in Texas. He had a family whose mission was to get Hall educated in the arts.
2) Broadway style of show
America- The Forbidden World Tour is celebrating Hall’s Forbidden album that was released the end of March. It is a visual concept album and the show is set up like a Broadway play. Rumor is that Hall got the idea three months before the tour, shot the YouTube video in two and a half months as he planned the tour. The show has the stage set, lighting and choreography of a Broadway play. It is an amazing feat when one thinks of the fact that it is set up and torn down everyday in a new city. There were multiple costumes and glorious wigs throughout the show. Hall was a super fast change artist going from a prison outfit to a gospel robe costume to a total drag queen.
3) Music that is relevant for the times yet melodic
The album and the show were filled with songs of love, heartbreak, passion, self-worth and sexiness. The songs reflect life in the 21st century America. Hall has plenty to say growing up black and gay in America. Somehow, he keeps the music upbeat with such serious subjects. The musical style is hip-hop infused R&B with a Broadway style. You can see and hear the entire Forbidden visual album on YouTube here. For a complete set list, please click here.
4) Hall’s troupe of performers
There was a full production of singers and dancers that were as diverse as the fans that attended. Chester Lockhart opened the show with a song before Hall and his dancers took over. Hall often referred to his troupe as his team. Everyone executed the complex choreography to near perfection and it seemed to be a team effort. Kudos go to the team including the lighting, sound and the stage technicians for bringing such an ambitious production on tour.
5) Hall’s message to his fans
Once the show started, the fans were on their feet and screaming for their hero and that continued for the duration. It was a beautiful crowd who knew every word to every song in the set. Hall announced early in the show to the fans, “I want you to take as many pictures and videos as you can and post them on Facebook, Instagram or any other social media.”
Later in the show, Hall was very clear about his feelings when he said, “We’ve been doing this tour for about 5 weeks. I am so glad to be here tonight. Today is our 42nd show. We appreciate your love and energy every night. Everything that you see on stage and everything you see on my YouTube channel is completely 100% self-funded so it means the world to me that you come out and support me and my team. I have no record label. You follow us on Instagram. You guys have broken box office records in New York and Chicago coming to see ‘Kinky Boots.’
How many of you have been watching ‘Ru-Paul’s Drag Races’ this year? You’ve made my documentary ‘Behind the Curtain’ on Netflix the most popular documentary of all time. Not too long ago, it would have been a preposterous concept for an openly gay black man to be going around the world telling his story and it makes me so happy when I see a group of people here that don’t represent one race, one culture, one sexuality, or one religion. It’s such a huge eclectic diverse group of people. So thank you.”
Each statement that Hall made was rewarded with a roar from the crowd.